The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Tuesday that it has finalized a rule to ensure that flight attendants get more rest between work days — no less than 10 hours.
What the rule does: Congress mandated increased rest breaks in the 2018 FAA reauthorization, and the FAA published the proposed rule nearly a year ago. Under the rule, flight attendants are entitled to a minimum rest period of at least 10 consecutive hours when they’re scheduled to work for 14 hours or less. The law allows for no reduction of the rest period under any circumstances.
“I’m a pilot, and as any pilot can tell you, we cannot fly the plane without the safety expertise and support of flight attendants,” said acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolan at a press conference Tuesday at Reagan National Airport. “Flight attendants are trained to take action during emergencies. administer first aid, conduct evacuations, manage medical emergencies.”
The current law requires nine hours of rest between shifts.
“Proper rest is critical for flight attendants to do our work as aviation’s first responders,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said in a statement following Tuesday’s announcement. “Flight attendants need this rest to do our jobs.”
Context: House Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) had pushed for the rule and pressed the FAA on the delays in promulgating it. Last week, he promised Nelson, “We’re going to get flight attendant duty time over the line before I’m retired. It’s only been five years after all.” His predecessor, Norm Mineta, first proposed the minimum rest in 1994.
What’s next: The new rule takes effect in 90 days.
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